In part four, we left off at the barrel nut working our way forward. I am really enjoying this experience if y’all haven’t noticed…lol.
Barrels are one of the foundational parts on a rifle. You tend to get what you pay for more often than not. You can go cheap and find a barrel like this one for around $80…call it $90 or so after shipping. This barrel is a 1:8 twist that is just parkerized. No melonite treatment…no chrome lined bore…nothing. Just a plain jane barrel.
Or you could go with something like this from MidwayUSA. This is a Noveske stainless steel, match grade barrel but it comes with the low-profile gas block installed and pinned for about $450.
I went with this one from Green Mountain Rifle Barrel Company, Inc. in Conway, New Hampshire. It is a 16 inch barrel button rifled from 41V50 milspec steel. The bore is chrome lined with a phosphate treated outer surface. The extension has M4 feed ramps and the bore has a 1:7 twist. This one rang in right at $130 after shipping.
Now it needs a gas system. There are four different gas system lengths if you count the pistol configuration. Rifle length, mid-length, carbine length and pistol length. This barrel is ported for a carbine length gas system.
The gas block needs to be low profile as the free floated fore-end that I chose has to go over and around it. If you went with a set-up with the front sight tower on the barrel and drop-in handguards, you would be saving some money. For the sake of comparison, I will make both examples free floated configurations.
The gas block come in many available configurations and compositions. You can get an anodized aluminum one here for $15.84 plus shipping. I opted for a stainless steel block in the clamp style as opposed to set screws. I found this one for $24.94 with free shipping from AXC Products’ ebay store.
Now we are to the fore-end. As I said, I chose to go with a free floated configuration. I found this one on ebay. I paid $89.59 with free shipping but, as of the time of this writing, they have them on sale for $69.97. This fore-end comes with the barrel nut. Most of them will, being as the barrel nuts tend to be proprietary to each manufacturer. Drop-in handguard configurations are generally ‘mix-n-match’.
Now for a muzzle device. Unless you order a barrel that is cut and crowned, your barrel will have threads at the muzzle. Unless you want these threads buggered up, you need to screw something on there. Which is why I chose a plain thread protector for $8.94 that came with a crush washer. Once I got it though, I found that it didn’t cover all the threads and that wasn’t going to work for me…lol.
I traded a set of sights to a friend for one like this. Now, this one will act a lot like a brake and I was leaning more towards a compensator if I did anything. I will run this until I decide to do something different…plus it looks cool…lol.
There is a difference between a brake and a compensator even though folks tend to use the terms interchangeably. A compensator directs a portion of the muzzle blast in an upwards direction that is intended to push the barrel back down as it rises from the recoil of the rifle.
A brake directs the gasses out the sides after hitting a baffle or wall. This is intended to nudge the rifle forward and reduce the rearward motion and felt recoil. The brake though, makes the rifle loud and it tends to blow thing off the shooting tables around you.
Once you decide on a muzzle device, the rifle will have what it needs to operate. You just have to decide what you will use to aim the thing with. Do you go optic?…iron sights?…or co-witness the two? You are on your own with that. As for me, I have some picatinny mount fixed iron sights on a slow boat from China as we speak. I will stay with these as I have never used any kind of optic on this platform. 20 years ago, I always qualified expert at 500 yards with irons, so I will start there and see how I do…lol.So I spent about $300 more than I had to on this thing. You can save even more by getting the whole rifle as a kit that you assemble yourself. It comes with everything but the lower receiver. That is the serialized item that has to be bought from a licensed dealer. You could almost shave another $100 off of it.
Continued in Part 6.
Stay safe, and keep a round in the chamber…